Thursday, January 20, 2011

BOOK REPORT- "Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-n-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood" by Michael Walker

n,Thanks to Panamint Patty for the book report.  She is one brave lady who fears not~ the wrath of~Eviliz


I humbly offer on the altar of Eviliz a book report on "Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-n-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood" by Michael Walker (Faber & Faber Inc.)

  Walker's excellent title is divided into two parts aptly
 named "Jingle Jangle Mornings" and "Cocaine Afternoons".
The last chapter of the first part is simply called "1969" and is meant to delineate the first part from the second by discussing
three pivotal events which occurred that year: the Tate-LaBianca murders, Woodstock and Altamont.  Miller argues that the events of 1969 changed life in the canyon forever, but also had far reaching implications for our culture at large.  

  The page count that specifically deals with Manson is 9 of 248,
though references to the Family can be found throughout.  Those who were interviewed by the author include, Graham Nash, Frank Zappa's widow Gail, record executives Sally Stevens and Michael James Jackson, photographer David Strick and Troubador doorman Paul Body who claims to have gone to high school with Lulu:

"She was in my French class. Sweet little girl,
homecoming princess. We hung around the same sort of people.  Then she got into the drug thing, then LSD, and that just ruined her.  Then she hooks up with Manson and becomes totally different from anything I remember." 
  This chapter also claims that Charlie auditioned live for Neil Young and that the Family regularly hung out at Cass Elliot's
house on Woodrow Wilson.  In fact, early rumors about who was responsible for the murders centered on an acquaintance of Elliot's,
"a drug dealer who had disappeared."  As evidence that Charlie and his minions were firmly entrenched in Laurel Canyon at that time,
Gail Zappa states that:

"If you were surprised by the Manson murders,
then you were not connected to what was going on in the canyon.
I don't think that you could have necessarily predicted it, but those people were dangerous and everyone I know knew it."

  Miller never does take a position on motive.  He outlines the main theories that we are all familiar with:  The "same old Helter Skelter" and/or rage at Terry Melcher and "the establishment" over being denied a record deal.  What Miller does say however is that the ultimate impact of the Family and the murders on history may be taken as "evidence of the counterculture's internal rot."  This laughable overgeneralization was necessary however in order for Miller to progress his book from part 1 to part 2:  from the peaceful, loving hippie-dippie sixties to the spun out, smacked out, soulless seventies.  There is no revelation here, but there are enough interesting tidbits to make the book a good read including discussions about where a lot of your favorite songs came from.


hippichick40 said...

Very interesting. Good review!

St. Circumstance said...

Well done- very nicely written :)

Panamint Patty said...

thank you Saint, that means a lot to me. You are always so well spoken (or, well written? LOL). You're next, right?

St. Circumstance said...

Absolutely- but you and Matt did so well- it will be hard to follow...

Thanks for the kind words :)

eviliz said...

Patty- don't get your hopes up on ST writing anything.
lets see, i think about 2 months ago i smoozed Saint and told him he reaaally should be writing some things for the blog, besides just comments. he told me (it was a friday this i remember) he was sitting on the beach, listening to a band and writing something for the bog.

WHERE IS IT!!!!!! still at the printers?

Saint you know i <3 u either way!!

St. Circumstance said...

LOL I give you both my word- book report coming...

I was emailing you from my phone that day while at the beach listening to a band- and I said I would write something for the blog- and I will :)

MrPoirot said...

It is good to see the book mention "internal rot" of the hippie movement rather than keep pumping the movement back up. If Charlie and the Family had to leave a rotted Haight-Ashbury in 67 then you can rest assured it was rotting from within. Of course Charlie finished off what was left of it in Aug 69. But still there are many even today who try to pump it back up. The fact is it was a disaster with excellent music. Were it to have been born today with our present, sorry music scene no one would even notice it.

Panamint Patty said...

I beg to differ with you, Mr. Poirot. Walker refers to the rot of "counterculture" and while the 60's hippie style of counterculture is certainly now a historical footnote, many other alternate scenes have emerged since then. One example of a couterculture that continues to thrive and grow is Burning Man. Another is Paganism. You could even go so far as to say that since the pivotal events of 1969 including Stonewall, the gay counterculture has done nothing but expand. Hippiedom may be a failed experiment in your opinon, but it opened up all of our minds to possible alternate ways of being. I feel that this has been of benefit in my own life.

eviliz said...

i always wanted to go to "burning man", just once.

MrPoirot said...

There was the equivilant of a hippie movement in 1920s Germany of all places. Counterculture was not a creation of the hippies at all nor was it new in 67. The 60s hippie movement came and went very fast. Keith Richards says in his new autobio that it arrived in England in just a few weeks. It happened that fast. The Haight rose and fell within 12 mos. By the time Easy Rider came out in 69 the hippie movement was already over. The hippies instantly discredited their own movement with their heavy drug use. No movement can survive behind heavy drug use. The only legacy of the hippie movement directly attributable to them today that they and they alone created is America's drug problem and single parent household problem.

eviliz said...

Patty- sorry i am a tad behind, thanks so much for your time and contribution. good read!

GrumpFromPahrump said...

I got the book after reading this review. I enjoyed the info about the Turtles and the Monkees. Two of my favorite old bands!